Matthew Steele is a Ph.D student in Islamic Studies at Harvard University. He researches jurisprudence and knowledge production in West and North Africa, with a particular focus on the intellectual history, texts, and communities that shaped legal scholarship from the 18th to early 20th centuries. Matthew has previously conducted fieldwork in Yemen, Morocco, Mauritania, and Senegal. He received his undergraduate degree at Swarthmore College and Master’s degree at Dartmouth College, where his work on customary law in Yemen was awarded the outstanding graduate thesis of 2012.
In Sudan, Matthew is serving as a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Khartoum’s Department of Islamic Studies for the 2014/2015 academic year. His current research project considers the development of Maliki and Shafi’I legal thought in Sudan, addressing how each of these two juridical schools developed epistemologies, institutions, and textual communities of learning that have not been adequately studied in scholarship on Islam in Sudan.